WASHINGTON – The U.S. added 156,000 jobs in December to cap off the sixth straight year in which the economy created more than 2 million new jobs. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 180,000 increase in new nonfarm jobs. The unemployment rate rose a tick to 4.7% from 4.6% as more people entered the labor force in search of work, the government said Friday. Average hourly wages jumped 0.4% to $26 last month. Hourly pay increased 2.9% from December 2015 to December 2016, marking the fastest 12-month increase since a recovery that began in mid-2009. Hours worked were unchanged at 34.3. Combined employment gains for November and October, meanwhile, were 19,000 higher than previously reported. The government said 204,000 new jobs were created in November instead of 178,000. October's gain was trimmed to 135,000 from 142,000, however.
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